29 Dec 2012

Death of US general Stormin' Norman

6:07 am on 29 December 2012

The United States general who headed the coalition forces that drove Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait, Norman Schwarzkopf, has died, aged 78.

General Schwarzkopf earned the nickname "Stormin' Norman" for his role in Operation Desert Storm during the first Gulf War in 1990 to 1991.

Schwarzkopf was a familiar sight on international television during the war, clad in camouflage fatigues and a cap, Reuters reports.

He saw combat twice - in Vietnam and Grenada - in a career that included command of units, training as a paratrooper and stints at Army staff colleges.

He led his men in firefights in two tours of Vietnam and commanded all US ground forces in the 1983 Grenada invasion.

In 1988, he was put in charge of the US Central Command in Tampa, with responsibility for the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. In that role, he prepared a plan to protect the Gulf's oil fields from a hypothetical invasion by Iraq. Within months, the plan was in use.

In a statement, former President George H.W. Bush said he and his wife Barbara "mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation".

Meanwhile, Mr Bush remains in the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital after being admitted in November for bronchitis.